sham diplomacy and the politics of Nile to undermine Ethiopia’s
legitimacy to its own water
a country with a population of over 100 million and robust economic growth
for the last 15 years has from time to time been plagued by famine and
frequent drought due to climate changes. Ethiopia has registered important
progress empowering its people by unleashing their own visions and
expectations. Ethiopia provides the vast majority of the Nile water volume
on which Egypt depends. The Blue Nile originates from the Ethiopian
Highlands in the Lake Tana with its several tributaries and has not been
able to exploit the Blue Nile's water resources due its own and other
players economic, political, and geostrategic reasons.
has never accepted unilateral agreement based on colonial treaties and has
therefore its own reservations on the right to utilize the water resources
of the Nile for the benefit of its people.
Egypt and the United States with the World Bank must understand
Ethiopia’s effort to tackle problems of food security and energy.
Ethiopia has no choice but use her natural waters for the purpose
of energy and food production.
use of the Blue Nile is also in line with the UN convection of equitable
and sustainable utilization of the country’s resources within its own
territory as an attribute to its sovereign right. The right of Ethiopia to
utilize its water resources remains valid and firmly committed to a
peaceful and win-win situation for the common good of its people and
neighboring countries. No one has to offer this legitimate right from
external bodies in the internal affairs of Ethiopia. Tony Allan, a leading
scholar and scientist on the water issue in general and the Nile in
particular, pointed out the injustice in the Egyptian position and calls
the plan of Egypt as preposterous and, a national fantasy.
the Trump administration continues to mask harmful policy and
fundamentally flawed negotiations neglecting the riparian states of the
Nile basin. Despite Ethiopia’s unique important national interest, the
United States has issued a badly formulated and unveiled threat to coerce
Ethiopia to sign an agreement on matters that involve Ethiopia’s
sovereignty and vital survival issue. Ethiopia initiated the $4.2 billion
Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam Project in 2011 with the goal of creating
one of the world's largest hydroelectric power plants. The Ethiopian
people has funded the Dam Project without any involvement remembering the
loan denial earlier for this project and the Dam Project is now
approximately 71 percent complete and it has started the process of
diverting some of the Blue Nile toward the Dam Project reservoir.
a statement released last week, Mnuchin said he held separate bilateral
talks with Egypt and the Sudan based on a fraudulent scheme so that
Ethiopia agrees to a revived colonial agreement imposed by Britain
prohibiting Nile basin countries from undertaking projects that would
reduce the river’s flow. Thus we have the so-called “historical
rights” of Egypt in every propaganda, statement and meeting, blocking
the way for an equitable share. In
1999 all Riparian states except Egypt agreed to a new framework for
allocations of the Nile’s water resources. More than 85 percent of the
Nile’s comes down from the Blue Nile in Ethiopia. The government of
Egypt is once again involved in a catch-22 type circular argument, to
delay on the technicality, diplomacy and security with all forms of
deceptions to damage Ethiopia’s interest.
Ethiopia’s right is egregiously violated and resembles a new
colonial agenda to impose on its head with all shenanigans and mischief
served at its present leadership. Although some imbeciles in the current
leadership may have miscalculated their role in this very strategic
project of self-sustenance, the Dam is throughout and completely an
Ethiopian affair, where all Ethiopian stakeholders have a say in any move
of the grandiose and a bulwark of national pride. There is also the
hearsay that Ethiopians would be amenable to political, ethnical,
religious influences by sheer interference, but does not hold water and is
an utter miscalculation of realities.
Trump administration’s attempt to push Ethiopia, outside its competence,
through dictation, and threats only emboldens Egypt to continue ignoring
the interests of Africans. There is a lot more at stake for Ethiopia’s
long term interest. The Trump administration’s imposition of its
conditions with IMF and World Bank with the stick and carrot approach is a
miserable understanding of what Ethiopia makes Ethiopia. Ethiopia does not
ask for charity from anybody but is keen on making the Nile a river of
peace and mutual cooperation in a “fair and equitable way”.
is not ready to cooperate and cannot accept any deals or agreements with
those who dictate on it. How can anyone expect the Trump administration to
solve the problem when his weight as a jury is in favor of Egypt’s
interest? This is why Ethiopians and Ethiopian Americans have strong
suspicions about the true intentions of the Trump administration against
Ethiopia on the operation of the GERD’s initial fillings.
believe the US involvement is highly important as an observer realizing
the potential for conflict regarding the Nile among Egypt, and Ethiopia.
The key rules governing the use of the Nile are largely derived from the
Convention on the Law of Non-Navigational Uses of International
Convention") concluded by the United Nations in 1997. Egypt and
Ethiopia are not parties to it, the Convention is generally considered to
be the most accurate representation of customary international law
regarding international watercourses.
Convention rests on the core principles of equitable and reasonable
utilization and participation of the riparian states exploiting a
watercourse, and an obligation not to cause significant harm to other
states sharing the watercourse. These principles are reflected in Articles
5 and 7 of the Convention. Article 5 requires states to "participate
in the use, development and protection of an international watercourse in
an equitable and reasonable manner”. Ethiopia with the language and
spirit of Article 5 should reject any claim that treaties between Egypt
and Sudan, to which Ethiopia was not a party, govern Ethiopia's current
and future use of the Nile's water resources. The Dam Project could use
the water potential to generate hydroelectric power and the use of
electric power for further irrigation purposes in other parts of the
country through the electrification of the country and even with excesses
for export to neighboring countries. Supporting Ethiopia’s priorities of
fighting diseases, eradication of poverty and promoting sustainable
development is a benefit for all by advancing regional security. The
successes of war on terrorism cannot be assured by treating Ethiopia as
simple geo-strategic real estate by ignoring the priorities and challenges
of Ethiopian national interest.
the Trump administration says to support rhetorically its engagement as an
observer but its support in the African context has not been coherent.
Ethiopia deserves attention, because Ethiopia is Africa’s second most
populous nation and a potential as regional stabilizer with its resources.
Ethiopia’s concerns are being marginalized and undermined by the Trump
administration callously; therefore the Ethiopian government should be on
full alert and remain vigilant against any deceptive diplomatic attempts.
Egyptian selfish position is an attempt to imitate the attitude of their
colonialist masters of unjust wealth division of upstream nations of
Africa, Thus, Ethiopia is in dangerous path, where some statements from
Arab League try to justify to Egyptian narrative by their exclusive narrow
minded declarations alienating Africans and African interest.
We hope that the Arab League with their undiplomatic association
with Egypt are not encouraging the one-sided party without hearing the
other one. Egypt may come with its incessant obsession of scare mongering,
but no one in Ethiopia is ever worried for any confrontation and God
forbid of any eventualities in the whole region.
Nile basin harmonious peace initiative should be at the center of US
Foreign policy. Ethiopia should prepare to defend all pressures to protect
its strong position of using fair and equitable utilization of Nile. The
Ethiopian government should not succumb an inch to any external pressure
and, it is time that we speak with one voice to reject Egypt’s
inflexible position. Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is a pride of the
Ethiopian people built on their sweat and money that represents a unified
voice for sustainable development and progress in the 21st century away
from past legacies of colonial treaties. Ethiopians also do know that any
threat by an outside power leads to congregation of their forces to defend
as one nation and history has time and again shown this fact with wars
against Ishmael Pasha’s in Gundet, Gurae, Aylet, Senhit and against
Italians in Adwa and during the Second World War.
we resist any outside force and interference!
March 6th, 2020
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